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Teetering on the Brink 

High-heeled shoes and low IQs

"If your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you jump, too?"

That's exactly what I would ask the numerous supposedly intelligent and obviously successful women who I see sporting ridiculously high-heeled, often pointy-toed shoes. I feel like the child in "The Emperor's New Clothes." I see ridiculousness all around me, yet none dares point it out.

This phenomenon includes accomplished women in many fields—journalism, the arts, business, sports—and includes Katie Couric, J. K. Rowling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams. What explains the lemming-like nature of so many women subjecting themselves to ultra-high heels? What justifies their willingness to sacrifice stability, safety and long-term well being to a fashion whim?

Walking behind a woman in high heels, you can observe her wobbly steps. In heels, one is hobbled. It would be quite difficult to run if necessary. And danger beckons. Just ask any of the high-fashion models that have taken a dive on the catwalk.

TV shows like Sex in the City have glorified overpriced versions of these torture chambers for feet. They are linked to designers with exotic names like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. And who hasn't heard the mantra that high heels are sexy and they make your legs look longer?

But alongside the literal price tag, which can reach several thousand dollars, there is another price to pay when attempting to fool with Mother Nature. The human body is a magnificently well-engineered creation that is designed to walk flat-footed, not on tip-toe. The negative effects of forcing one's feet into high-heeled, pointy-toed shoes are many. They will take their toll on one's posture, ankles, knees, hips, back and toes.

We've all heard the lament from women wearing "fashionable" but impractical shoes: "My feet are killing me." But in reality, it's the reverse. They are killing their feet.

Shoes should be shaped like feet, not the other way around. Do a Google image search for celebrity bunions. If those pictures don't scare you, well, enjoy your plummet from the bridge!

Susan Simon Corwin lives in Petaluma.Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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